Following on from our most recent article earlier this week regarding what impact the 2017 Budget will have on motorists, the European Commission has given two months for the UK to comply with EU air pollution limits.
A significant proportion of air pollution is caused by vehicles which could be combated by reducing traffic, using electric cars and by using cleaner, more sustainable power. It is therefore likely that further changes will be made over the coming months that will affect motorists in the UK.
Despite moves by the Government towards funding ‘disruptive technology’ and introducing diesel scrappage schemes, the UK has failed to address repeated breaches of air pollution limits in 16 areas including London, Glasgow, Great Manchester and Kingston upon Hull – parts of London passed the annual air pollution limit for the whole of 2017 in the first five days of the year!
The European Commission has told the UK that if they fail to demonstrate how they intend to adhere to EU regulations within two months, then a court hearing could begin as soon as later this year. Sanctions could include lump sum fines and penalty payments.
But the UK were not alone in receiving a slap on the wrist from the European Commission, with Germany, Italy, France and Spain also being served with final warnings. Whilst a court hearing is by no means imminent, the UK will have to show that significant steps have been taken to align themselves with EU law. Just how much the Government can argue that the newly announced 2017 Budget has done this remains to be seen.
With the news this morning that the ‘Brexit Bill’ has been given Royal Assent, it appears that the UK is edging closer to a European exit, however the UK will be subject to scrutiny by the European court as long as it remains an EU member, and swift moves will have to be taken by the Government in order to avoid financial punishments.